Max, Durkheim And Weber

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Comparison of Marx, Durkheim and Weber Sociology can easily be described as a untidy subject. As the "˜science of society and social relations' its boundaries are wide and difficult to draw. Marx, Durkheim and Weber are the major classical sociological thinkers and are often regarded as the "˜trinity' of major classical sociologists. They provide theories and arguments in order to create an understanding of our society. In comparing and contrasting these sociologists it is acceptable to analyse Marx and Durkheim as they offer a challenging examination of the dehumanising aspects of industrial society. To come to a conclusion Weber will be related back to the latter thinkers as the features of his teaching is immensely present and important in sociological disputes and debates.

Both Marx and Durkheim's criticisms are rooted in the development in the specialised functions and the complex division of labour. They offer valuable critiques in which they do propose solutions from opposing perspectives.

Marx's theory is often referred to as alienation, "˜An individual's feelings of estrangement from a situation, group or culture' (Collins Dictionary of sociology...p.13) and Durkheim's theory as anomie, this literally means "˜without norms.....A condition of society [.....]', (ibid..p.22).

According to Marx, the division of labour alienates man from his work, from himself, from nature and from his fellow men. He views alienation as a process. Man works to produce products that he does not own and it thus alienated from his labour. As specialisation increases, he no longer experience the self-confirming features of his work but experiences it as debilitating. As he becomes alienated from his work and himself, work becomes a means to an end. For example subsistence and man becomes divorced from nature. His fellow men are experiencing alienation too and eventually each man thinks only of himself and his family and...